AT&T Chief Says Hiring Michael Cohen as Consultant a ‘Big Mistake’

Coverage Type: 

Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, said in a staffwide memo  that the company had made a “big mistake” by hiring President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

“Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged,” Stephenson wrote. “There is no other way to say it – AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.” Stephenson insisted in the memo that “everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate.” Nonetheless, he added, retaining Cohen “was a serious misjudgment.” “In this instance,” he continued, “our Washington DC team’s vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that.”

Stephenson also said the company’s top lobbyist, Bob Quinn, was retiring. The Wall Street Journal reported that Quinn is being forced to leave. Quinn joined AT&T in 1993 and took over the Washington office in October 2016. The DC office will now be run by the company’s general counsel, David McAtee. “David’s number one priority is to ensure every one of the individuals and firms we use in the political arena are people who share our high standards and who we would be proud to have associated with AT&T, “ Stephenson wrote.

The Dallas Morning News is updating this story

AT&T Chief Says Hiring Michael Cohen as Consultant a ‘Big Mistake’ AT&T Executive Who Oversaw Michael Cohen’s Contract Forced Out (WSJ) AT&T calls hiring Michael Cohen 'big mistake' and says D.C. executive will retire (LA Times) AT&T Admits 'Mistake' In Hiring Trump Lawyer, Top Company Lobbyist Steps Down (NPR) AT&T: Hiring Cohen was 'big mistake' (The Hill) One of net neutrality’s biggest enemies ‘retires’ from AT&T amid Michael Cohen scandal (The Verge) AT&T admits to ‘big mistake’ in hiring Michael Cohen for insights into Trump (Fierce) AT&T CEO: Hiring Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was ‘a big mistake’ (Washington Post) AT&T says hiring Trump lawyer was “big mistake,” forces top lobbyist out (ars technica) read the AT&T letter AT&T ousts top lobbyist after payments to Trump attorney (Dallas News)